tv Road to the White House CSPAN December 31, 2012 12:30am-2:00am EST
allowing women bishops. and there's in problem over david cameron to apply the proposal. there's no electric mandate for these politics. after the owned of, he finally produce his report on media ethics. his inquiry was set up over the hacking scandal. in his report he said parts of the media were reckless. following that news conference david cameron came to the commons to end piece.
>> i have proposals who have independent self-regulation organized by the media. he details the key requirement that an independent regular body should meet. a standards code, an arbitration service and a complaint. this would reassure the basic requirements. now i have misgivings in this recognition. the issue of principle is that for the first final of writing elements of press regulation
into the law of the land. we should be wary of any free speech and a free press. >> let us be clear about the system. he proposes what i call general. but he also gave the responsibility for establishing that mr. mayor to the press. as now that's why statue is important because he provides a new guarantee. he recommends that the media regulars off come.
it is truly independent and provides effective protection for people like the mccanns, to make it real, as we set out in statute a law of this parliament. that's why i can get a truly independent from the press. >> for the first time since the coalition haws informed. nick made a statement of the law. >> in principle, i think she can be done in a proportionate and workable way. i understand of course, the entirely legitimate reasons why some members are aware of you. >> i have fought long and hard about this. i'm a liberal. i don't make laws for the second of it.
and certainly when it comes to the press, the absolute worse outcome in all of this would be for nothing to happen at all. so mr. speaker we must not provide it. nothing i have seen so far in this debate suggests to me we will find a better solution. so with the prime minister shying away from one of lord justin levisohn's recommendations. he joins me in the studio. ross. david said he would expect levishon unless his conclusions are bonkers. >> why isn't he accepting it? >> it would cause drawing up laws to govern what the pressure should do.
this really was a question of the heart of all of this. how could you make sure that everybody was involved including publishers that aren't to do so without the piece of legislation that would amount to system licensing. the law had to change. talks use similar language that would simply recognize an independent regulator in raw. this debate went for months and months and months. they were joined. it would be far more something more owneress. that's what david cameron was addressing in some of his concerns. how did it feel? >> we saw something rather different there.
we heard from the two men, the prime minister and the deputy prime minister. one of those two men thinks the new law is circumstantial and the other not is not. >> in the backgrounds for a moment, you've got the last few months. will continue to cross party talks. but simultaneously you also god the crime city. try now that new regulator could be brought in into this new law if it were to be one. it could be recognized and gone look at it. there it is. we have a relator. it works. why do we need anything new? i think is that possibly the most powerful argument you try to stave off any project. >> not backed by law is that the most probably outcome?
>> we do the press it is in their interest to put it in place. we are talking about a -- will be able to negotiate anybody that we won't be able to fine. they will vote by statute. the question really is whether you see nick and neighbors view preceding. many great westminster debates, remember the levisohn inquiry and take them away from the house of politicians. we have to report. we have to have the conclusion and back to the politician who is had to deal with lots of different deals too.
>> let's take a look at the wide fiscal work. what other clouds on the coalition's horizon coming up >> there's talk some of how far the coalition has got in it aims. i look forward to look forward. i'll raise some of the things that remember the idea that we have promised to us about the capacity to recoil and situation. there is the commercial iraq shoe of the e.u. budget. that hasn't gone away led for
the first substantial defeat. that has to be negotiated. it would seem more work related. benefits by 1%. a huge debate between government and labor. it matters to how much money the treasury has. some poor and vulnerable people have. and the public really care about. if they see asthma a bad government taking it away or if they take the opposite of it you and say it's a crackdown o changes. it's going to explode. it will be a huge issue. >> you're going to be getting ready to get busy. good luck. >> the existing operator sir richard branson's virgin train had lost out to the first train. virgin challenged the decision and the outcome was scratched and the bidding process was the two trained companies had been
given different information. >> we've got the interim late law report which come only as they describe as an indictment that the report can't found. i like transparency. it's changed the rules last minute and acting unfairly and it was aware that it was a legal challenge. in view of all the department, i wish could. the way things were being dealt when i was there for various reasons and i wasn't in the same department. >>i but i was assure oaf the franchise was safe but do i
regret not asking more questions? >> it's easy in hindsight to say yes, i could have asked more questions of my officials. sit not the case that those officials should have been telling you the facts rather than wait in foot. so ask questions. >> well, i could say a lot of things. but daddy's in the back growth. i think it becomes obvious in meeting where they so far had laid low.
fromrobably not wrecked falling. information was given in different ways. so i think what we're seeing is i'm afraid there is a breakdown in which the way that the process was conducted. >> the transport secretary. well, there were more feisty exchanges when three international corporations and google recuesed of trying to avoid paying a fair amount of the tax. members of the public accounts committee skied zero executives. they said they were doing anything wrong. they fouled losses in the u.k.
almost every year. >> if you've made losses in the suck which is what you're fighting, over 15 years, what has you doing business here? >> we know that we must within the u.k. to be a successful company. >> but you're not making money. >> we've had encouragement over times. >> 15 years. andre still making losses yet you're carrying on. if it's true. >> i assure you it's very strew. we're not at all there. >> i mean for 14 years of trading this -- in this country and get paid $17.6 million in
corporation tax. you either want the business very badly or something else is going on. >> would you consider making a commit development the british marketplace about the degree to which you will have a fair approach to taxation? >> we are never aggressive in avoiding taxes by any means. we do not have tax havens in place. that's just now hot we do business. we look forward to deepening our investment. we have every intention to do that. >> your entire economic activity is here in the u.k. >> i do pay in pants. never comes out. your entire activity is here and yesterday you pay no taxes. that rowls us. >> when we do pay corporation
tax, -- >> tiny bit. i mean, you won't tell us yourselves. >> the other thing i would say, we've paid in excess of $100 million. in the last five years we've paid 10s of millions of rate. i like the service you provide you may be interested also in "50 shades of grey." \[laughter] i'm interested in why you pay so little corporation tax particularly in this country so that we can pay some kind of benefit to all the book sellers you put out of business. >> we do pay a corporation tax and we pay a corporation tax on
any profit. also we make payment. >> now i found google the most difficult. i've had to create drawings to understand how the google intracompany system works. as i understand it 92% of all sales outside the u.s.a. are built in ireland. is that right? >> i'm not sure if it was 92% but the vast majority will be built in google in ireland. >> you actually have been making a profit. >> we are making a profit and we're paying taxes. >> in the u.k. >> well, a real profit rather than just avoiding this. >> i have to say we are paying the taxes and not avoiding taxes. >> you are avoiding taxes. >> i think you are avoiding. my question is would you leave? and if you left if you had to pay a higher way to tax on the
decent profit, where would you go? >> i think the issue of you understanding here it is about -- if google was a british business -- if google would have been founded in cambridge it would be different because the technology founded where it happened. british is a u.s. business. the activity that happens in the u.k. even if you have to describe it as sales activity which is not exactly what the people do, we can still go and get that activity from the open market at the kind of cost that we're paying the u.k. >> fallout from all of that led to starbucks saying it would pay $20 million pounds. it attributed to margaret hodges given the parliamentarian of the year award. now off to the house of lords where the government suffered a series of defeats in secret court hearings in civil cases.
the government wanted the government to hear the evidence in what are closed closed material proceedings, which include the public, the media and even the american who brought the case. the intelligent services could be compromised. at the moment the government finds itself unable to defend some compensation claims for fear of blowing the government of secret agents or government sources. >> what i am worried about is that we're giving them the victory and actually legislating to underpin that victory. >> it's deeply distressing to me and to my former colleagues to be accused of really wicked treatment in the case of torture and maltreatment. we have not been able to defend
ourselves. one of the things that this closed material procedure does is it gives opportunity for this material, which may or may not reflect badly on the intelligent services. i actually think it would not reflect badly. but that it should be looked at. >> one of the things that should not happen is you must not reduce the abilities of the public prosecution services and lawyers and more importantly the police who to my personal knowledge are extremely frustrated today certainly in northern ireland and in certain other areas that i know of that they cannot get convictions when they know that the people are guilty. they cannot get the evidence of the court because -- because they are protecting our secret
services, our police, our undercover agents. >> people are sure that the united kingdom has been settling. a huge reputational damage. it could be used with terrorism against the united kingdom. the noble lady said public confidence is not helped by the fact that in many cases we've been able to defend ourselves. she believes as i do that inviting the court to look at all the relevant secret material and to decide whether any weight could be put on is the campaign of today. >> they reached another landmark in october. 96 football fans died in a match between liverpool in april 1989. the inquest soon afterwards returned verdicts of accidental
deaths. but that has been heavily criticized. the panel published more than 450,000 pages of documents and found 41 victims could have been saved if emergency services could have acted more quickly. >> my consideration in the evidence in this matter is far from complete. but as i do not wish to cause the family affected by this disaster i've decided to take an exceptional step and i nouns it on the basis of what i've already seen. it must be made. 96 died as a result of what occurred in hillsborough that day and 96 inquests were held. i believe it is all those debts that arose from a common chain of events.
>> it was open season on the church. as m.p. voted their anger not to allow women to become bishops. the bishop and the clergies supported the change. outcomeondemned the complaining that the church without baited, irrelevant and ex-centric. the m.p. gave his views. >> it is a frustration that i share and i think the following need to be understood. firstly, this is not an issue which can in any way be parked for the next couple of years or so awaiting another round of senate elections. there has to be an understanding that this is an issue that has to be resolved. >> can we send a message to all others because they must feel even more frustrated than we do? theme're not going to let down? >> since i was ordained as a priest in the church of england 25 years ago, women become
deans, rural deans and even archdeacons. their member is absolutely right to say that we will have more concessions to the hard liners that want to be second rate bishops. we need to speak this up. wouldn't it make sense to have moratorium until there could be women bishops not. it's not for this house to say how the established church is run. we may well have our own opinion but it's a very dangerous things for the house of commons to tell the established church how to run itself. >> they vote on a range of issues including qualities legislation.
it is clear that they do not reflect the views of the british people. is it not time that they left the house? >> i every understood how you can have the head of the church and yet women cannot be bishops. can i urns that we do consider bring ordering -- that women should be bishops in the church of england? >> could i just reassure my humble friend that as i sat down through my event, while there were those arguing for women to have headship. i don't know how they reconciled that. veryhe queen we're fortunate to have not only as head of state but head of the church. >> there was another issue in the house of collins and currently gay couples can have a civil partnership service.
>> they told the church of england and the church in whales will be excluded from the legislation. other churches would be allowed to opt in if they chose. >> churches have a right to fight for and articulate their beliefs and to be under no come pummings to conduct same sex marriages. if there's any church or any mosque that doesn't want to conduct a gay marriage it will not absolutely must not be forced to hold it. that is why as far as response we'll have a quadruple loss. clear and unambiguous protection. i think it's important that she does not become two too defensive. those face such as the yikers and others who want to be able to celebrate same sex marriage should be able to consider.
>> would she consider not being such an ultimate law so there is general freedom for the chilled of england. just as they voted to keep slavery and kept slavery for another 30 years, even chilly they changed their minds. as a member of the party that sip ports equal, may i suggest that she does have to take into account that it wasn't in the coalition agreement and many members of my constituency and my church and our party kneel there needs to be much more work done to see if it's possible to define civil marriage separately from traditional marriages. >> to challenge the definition
of marriage between one man and one woman. >> and wile some conservative m.p.'s backed the proposal, some m.p.'s had opposition. >> civil partnerships while conferring virtually the same legal benefits are not the same as marriage. marriage is not the property of the government, nor is it the property of the church and while the forms and legalities over gay marriage have evolved over time, one creature has remained the same that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. the social intrusion that predates both church and state
that is the glue that has successive societies toth. -- together. the queen meets the prime minister for a regular briefing but this was the first time in recent history that a monarch had gone and join the table. >> the first item on the agenda to allow a girl to become head of state even though if she has a younger brother. and that wraps up our look back at 2012 to see what 2013 brings, do join us on bbbc partment on january 7th. but until then from me, alessia mccarthy. goodbye. ♪
with the british house of commons in recess, i ministers questions will not be seen this wednesday. it returns live wednesday, january 9 on a 7:00 a.m. -- at 7:00 a.m. eastern. secretary of state held a clinton was admitted to new york hospital earlier today. according to the state department, her doctors discovered a blood clot stemming from the concussion he sustained weeks ago. she is being treated with anti coagulants. doctors will monitor her condition. >> next, we will hear from members of congress about negotiants surrounding the fiscal cliff. senate majority leader harry reid, followed by senator john thune, then senate floor speeches from barbara boxer, joe
manchin, and kay bailey hutchinson. >> the majority leader is recognized. i was glad to hear that republicans have taken their demand for social security benefit cuts off the table. it should never have >> they should never have been on the table to begin with. at 11:00 in the morning. i certainly hope
>> next, republican senator john thune. >> thank you. i will first of all thank both of my colleagues for the diligent work -- they have committed themselves to this work and i appreciate it. mr. president, i rise today frustrated, embarrassed, and angry. it is absolutely inexcusable that all of us find ourselves in this place at this time, standing on the floor of the senate in front of the american >> thank you for the update. midafternoon today, senator john thune spoke with reporters on where things stand on the fiscal cliff. >> where do things stand as far as a republican deal? >> republicans advanced a proposal last night and you heard senator mcconnell talk about it on the floor. we're still waiting for a counteroffer.
there was an indication we would receive the by 10:00 this morning, but discussions still continue. senator mcconnell and vice president joe biden are continuing to discuss this and we think there still could be a path forward. democrats have come out and made a huge deal out of changing this and republicans are very concerned that it should not be used as an offset to reduce or replace some of the spending cuts that would occur and democrats put forward an alternative. this is a process. there's a lot of give-and-take going on. republicans do not want to see new revenue, democratic tax increases, being used for new spending. that is where many members are drawing the line. >> you all want to use this technical level, but it would really affect social security recipients in the sequester. democrats want to use new revenue from tax increases. is that the way you see that? >> there are other issues involved, but that is one example.
it is not about replacing the sequester today. it is about changing policy to protect social security in the long run. if democrats do not accept it as an offset, come up with something else. raising taxes to pay for new spending is not something that republicans believe this debate ought to be about. a dog to be reducing the deficit and debt. they say they want higher taxes on people in this country to pay for new spending. >> you have spoken a few times with the prize -- the vice president and it seems they have been able to come up with bipartisan deals. did he give you an indication that you just had with fellow republicans that it may be an avenue of success? >> there were conversations and discussions between us and we remain hopeful that it will be a breakthrough. obviously, what happened here between the two leaders in the senate had broken down because they had come forward with a counter offer to what
republicans said last night. hopefully the discussions between the vice-president and senator mcconnell will get us back on track and we will have a breakthrough and something we can vote on today or tomorrow to avert what we all believe would be an economic disaster. >> harry reid is as if you cannot come up with something by tonight that he will push a scaled-down version of what the president asked for, the tax cuts on everyone making above $250,000. you say knowing your colleagues that enough republicans will cross over and allow that to pass if it does not get the 50 votes needed? >> it's hard to say. this is what i would say about that. if that is where we end up and they decide to move that along to the floor and maybe you get the house to pass the extension as a deal, i would open it up to the amendment process. give us an opportunity to debate some of these things that we think should be a part of it. if history is a guide, they will take a bill until the amendments to allow that. we would welcome the opportunity to have an open debate on the floor of the senate with the american people watching.
and i want to say, and i've said this privately but i'll say it publicly, that i really hope our leaders can find a way out of this. i watched the president speak today and i thought as usual, he is very fair in what he said, mr. president. what he basically said is, it's the middle class that grows this economy, it's the middle class that needs to be lifted up, it's the middle class that can't afford tax hikes, and those at the very top can do just a little bit more. ates very simple point. and i just would hope, given that everyone says they're for the middle class -- i know my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say that every day, that they agree with that. that finding this compromise will not be elusive but will come to pass.
you know, i have been here for a while, and my understanding is we haven't met between christmas and new year's since 1962. so it does take a crisis, of major proportion, to make that happen. and i think we are in a crisis right now. but it's a self-made one, mr. president. it's a self-imposed one. it's like the crisis we had on the debt ceiling. self-imposed. it's not some god forbid exterior attack on our country, which we couldn't prevent. it's not some god forbid plague or a terrible virus that is running across the land. it's, to me, something that is not that complicated, as the president said.
we had a series of tax cuts that are expiring. if we let them expire, it means there will be a huge tax cut, mostly hitting the middle class and the working poor. and the upper incomes, the people in that category have done so well that even they say they would have to talk to their accountant before they even knew there was any impact on their tax bill. so we can come together now, the president's favored limit would be 250 thiewts meaning -- 250 thoots, meaning -- $250,000, everybody up to $250,000 gets a tax break, 100% of the people. those with higher incomes would go back to the tax rates that
prevailed when bill clinton was president. why the other side, you know, is horrified by that is perplexing to me. because i look back at the clint era, i was here. that's a long time ago. i was here. i came to the senate. with senator feinstein when bill clinton was president and he faced similar issues in that we had a deficit that was getting out of control, a debt that was getting out of control. we needed to have growth, and so he put forward a plan, a budget plan that invested in our people, invested in the infrastructure, invested in education, and at the same time said we can find cuts in other areas and we can raise taxes on those who are doing very well. and what happened with that fair and balanced approach? what happened was the greatest
prosperity in modern history. 23 million jobs, no more deficits, we got to a balanced budget and i remember saying to my husband my goodness, what's going to happen? there won't be any more u.s. government bonds because we're going to be out of the debt situation. we saw -- we saw it on the horizon when george w. bush became president, he decided to go back, backwards on rates across the board from the wealthiest to the middle to the poor, and he put two wars on a credit card and we are where we are where we are. and to add to this history, we all know that we're coming out of the worst recession since the great depression. it has been difficult, led by, unfortunately, some unscrupulous people on wall
street who created a nightmare in the housing market. i remember saying to treasury secretary paulsen can you explain the rule of derivatives here and what happened and how we got into this crisis? and he put his head in his hands, mr. president, and he said not now. i'll talk to you later. now, that's not a very encouraging thing when the secretary of the treasury puts his head in his hands and says i can't explain it now. so we're coming out of this difficult time, and guess what -- we're doing much better. we had an election, it was pretty clear, people want to see us reach a balance here. so as i stand here, i know that there are negotiations going on in the rooms surrounding us. and i wish for the best. i hope for the best and i ask for the best.
and there is a word called "compromise." and it doesn't mean you compromise your principles but it means you can compromise because that's what the american people want us to do. yes, they do. and i want to give you an example. if you were out hiking and you saw -- and, mr. president, your state, there are a lot of hikers and you saw someone stuck on a cliff, trapped, swinging from a reason, and you knew the only way to save the person was to cut the reason, but you're standing with someone else and you say cut the reason at the top, and he says, well, cut the reason at the bottom, and you stand there arguing. meanwhile, the man is struggling on this cliff. let me down. wouldn't the smart thing to do, wouldn't it be smart to cut the
reason in the middle? and save the guy. you can argue later should i have cut the reason at the top or the bottom. no, cut it in the middle, save the man. that's a pretty simplistic example of where we are. but i have the privilege of knowing that we can get it done when we work together. i was so proud to bring to the senate a highway bill, a transportation bill. millions of jobs were at stake. our states were worried they would stop getting their highway funds. we would have had to stop road projects in the middle, wouldn't have had funding for transportation, for transit. but you know what happened? senator inhofe and i sat in a room, you couldn't find two people more diverse in our thinking, he a conservative republican, i a progressive liberal democrat and we sat in a room and he said i want this, this, and this. and i said i want that, that,
and that. and then we said let's make a deal here. let's meet in the middle here. and we did it. much to everyone's surprise. and that bill passed the senate. when it got to the house it got stuck, so senator inhofe and i and senator reid went over to meet with john boehner and chairman mica and we all agreed we'd get it done. neither side got everything they want and anyone who takes that position in my opinion is not putting country first. i don't care whether they are republican, a democrat, or anything else. we are not each of us going to get everything we want. lord knows. there's a lot i could do if i had a wand and could make it happen. but everybody has a different view of exactly how to go forward and i think we're being tested here. so i know it's tough going, and
i know if we don't get a deal, it doesn't stop there, we'll keep on working. but there is no reason on this beautiful god's green earth why we can't get a deal here. if everyone is sincere in saying they want the middle class could be protected, we can get a deal here. president obama says $250,000 is the line, maybe i think $350,000 is the line, maybe someone else $500,000, maybe somebody else $150,000. we can meet somewhere and cut that reason somewhere in the middle. and save this country from the uncertainty, the uncertainty that plagues us right now. in the olden days -- and i say olden, a long time ago -- i was a stock stockbroker. i was an economics major and a stockbroker on wall street. the thing wall street and
investors can't take is uncertainty. if they know taxes are going up, they'll refigure things. if they know taxes are going down, they'll refigure things. if they know taxes are staying things, they'll figure it out. but right now they're frozen. because they don't know. and families are also in many ways frozen. they don't know whether they have to budget so that they'll have $200 -- $2,000 less next year. they don't know whether it will be $4,000. they don't know if it's ever going to change. and the uncertainty is -- is the fault of leaders who cannot get together. so i think it is critical that we get a deal. i hope it's in the next couple of hours because, to me -- you know, somebody asked me, some reporter, "well, what's the difference if you get it now or five days from now?"
i say the difference is this uncertainty, this pall. and an unneeded escalating crisis. because then you say, well, we don't have to do it now, we'll do it on the 4th. well, we don't have to do it on the 4th, we'll do it on the 10th. get it done. america wants us to get it done. the president has shown he is willing to be flexible. he's come out with some ideas that i have to swallow very, very hard on to -- to accept. he is willing. i know how personally strongly he feels that $250,000 should be where we draw the line in terms of tax breaks, but he was willing to offer $400,000. he was willing to look at changing some of our programs. very tough for him to do. but he's willing to do it, even though he ran on his program and won by millions of votes on his
program. so if the president can be flexible and say, okay, i'll step back from everything i really want to do and move in the direction of the republica republicans, then the republicans need to move in our direction. and i think we're going to be judged by whether we are going to be stuck in the mud because we just don't have the courage to -- to change or whether we step forward at this moment. and i think it should be this moment. and if we can't get it done, i certainly hope we'll have an up-or-down vote on the president's plan which i feel was very, very fair. the president offered a plan that was fair. do i like everything about it? absolutely not. but he showed that he is willing to take those steps. and i would hate to think that
our colleagues would filibuster that and demand a 60-vote threshold as we go over this cliff. so the american people are hanging from the cliff and we can let them down real gently today and solve this problem. but if all we do is stand up and -- and stay in our corners, i'm very fearful that the message is that we don't know how to meet each other halfway, and that is not a good thing. and voters are going to turn on those people who stand in their corners and don't move. that is not the role of legislators. and i'll close with this. we have a -- a different form of government than they have in europe. this is not a parliamentary system. if you're in a parliamentary system, one government rules everything. it's one party rules everythingmeneverything.you hav.
you have the speaker -- the equivalent of the speaker -- and the leader all in one party. and then you don't compromise, you put that out there and you get your program through. if there's a lack of confidence, the people can change parties. the next party comes in and does what it wants. that is not what we do here. sometimes i wish it was the form of government we had because at least there would be some action and you would know what to expect and you wouldn't have this uncertainty. because each party has its dreams, its hopes, its plans. and they would have the chance to get those policies through. we don't have that here.we have to meet each other halfway. because the house is run by the republicans and it will be next time. the senate is run by the democrats but it is not a supermajority. we have to deal with our colleagues. the house -- the president is a
democrat. we have to work together. that's the name of the game. and if we can do it on the highway bill, if -- if i could do it with jim inhofe, if debbie stabenow can do it with pat roberts on the farm bill, i know -- and there are other examples i could give. i could give examples of senator feinstein with her republican counterpart. i could give many examples on the appropriations committee. we know we can do this. we just have to take a deep breath and put our ego as side for this country's sake and make those compromise that allow us to still stand tall. now, i'm only five feet so that's hard, but you get the point. we can do this and we should do it now. and if we don't do it now, we should vote on the president's plan because the people of this
country deserve better than to be left hanging on a cliff. they don't deserve that. it's not right. thank you very much. i yield the floor. >> next, joe manchin talking about his plan for the fiscal cliff. their diligent work. they have committed themselves to this work and i appreciate it and they keep us all informed. mr. president, i rise today frustrated, embarrassed and angry. it is absolutely inexcusable that all of us find ourselves in this place at this time,
standing on the floor of the senate in front of the american people hours before we plunge off the fiscal cliff. with no plan and no apparent hope. but here we are ande have got to do something. if we're as determined to go over the cliff as we seem, we've got to do something to soften theanding because at the bottom of the fiscal cliff, our our -- are immediate and massive tax increases, deep and indiscriminate spending cuts and the risk of another recession. so as we come down on the final hours, we have two choices -- to do nothing and cause an unbelievable amount of hardship for our fellow americans or to do something to reduce the suffering inflicted on our citizens by an inflexible political system. mr. president, i choose to do mething, so today i'm introducing the calm act which stands for the cliff alleviation at the last minute act. the calm act will do three
important things. it will soften the financial blow of the fiscal cliff. it will calm our financial markets. it gives us the certainty of a plan now but allows us if we ever find the courage to pursue the fiscal grand barga that has eluded us so far. make no mistake, the financial markets are watching us, and they're getting more nervous by the hour. we need to reassure them that we are capable of making big financial decisions. this bill, the calm act, is not something that i'm excited about or proud to offer. this is not a great plan, but it's merely a better plan than going over the cliff. it should never have come to this. we have knownor more than a year that this day was coming. for more than a year, i have asked congress for a big fix to our nation's fiscal challenges. i pushed strongly for the simpson-bowles framework for deficit reduction, and yet here we are no closer to a sensible decision on how to bring our
$1.1 trillion budget deficit and our $16.1 trillion public debt under control. well, guess what? time's up. no more games, no more excuses, no more ceking the can down the road. we have to act and we have to act in a way that puts our fiscal house in order, reassures the financial markets and puts the people ahead of politics, and we have to deal with these tax increases and spending cuts in a humane and tolerable way. the calmct does all of that. look what happens to people in need if we go over the cliff and just do nothi. on new year's day, the lowest income tax rate will jump from 10% back to the clinton-era rate of 15%. that's a pretty big financial bite for people in west virginia and i know in ohio, too, sir. these are people that are struggling right now. instead of an overnight tax hike
of 5%, the calm act smooths the transition by phasing i increases over three years. so instead of a 5% increase, the 10% bracket would only go to 1 1.6% the first year. the calm act does the same with the other tax rate tax rates phm in over three years. but the calm act also puts the senate on record in support of comprehensive overhaul of our tax system. we can still work towards a big fix like the simpson-bowles framework and if we can do that next year, we could stop the full increase from ever occurring. another important feature of the calm act is the way it treats sequestration. again, if we go over the cliff and do nothing, nearly every government program will be hit with the same percentage cut, and that includes social services, education, research and infrastructure, all of the thgs that we need to grow our fragile economy. the calm act gives the office of
management and budget discretion and flexibility to recommend what pgrams and what agencies and accounts to cut. if o.m.b. fails to do the job, then the sequestration across-the-board cuts kick back n of course the final word rests right here with us in congress. o.m.b.'s decision with be overridden by a joint resolution. every provision of the calm act is familiar to the senate. in fact, at one time or another, nearly every feature of this plan has been offered by both republicans and democrats, including president obama and speaker boehner. all i'veone is pull them togethero offer them has a compassionate alternave to what happens if we go over the fiscal cliff. true, from the very beginning i have favored a comprehensive solution to put our fiscal house in orderings something along the lines of the simpson-bowles. we don't have that luxury right
now. but perhaps it will only soften the blow of the fisl cliff but also give us a sense of urgency about a grand bargain to repair our financial house. i am not so naive as to believe everybody is going to check their piticat the door, even at this late hour, but this is not a time for politicki, bickering or partisan games. to allow the country to plunge over the fiscal cliff without any alternative plans t soften the landing is completely unacceptable. i can't think of anything more irresponsible than to let this great country go over the fiscal cliff, to play games with the lives of americans in such a callous way, to jeopardize the financial standingf our country and to alarm our financial rcotics ways that could trigger another recession. something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to the american economy is the american congress.
i repeat, sir, something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to our american economy is our american congress. it doesn't have to be that way. i'm putting something on the i believe that is fair and balanc. it includes a slow phase-in of the tax increases that are going to happen inevitablyf we go over the cliff. it includes a sw phase of all the increases and includes targeted spending decreases, and it moves us closer to tax reforms. everybody helps and we do it in a way that keeps our country strong and prosperous. this is one ofhose moments that the senate was intended to live up to, to provide leadership, to find common ground, to level with the american people, and to be honest with each other. with our debt continuing to soar and too man americans still looking for jobs, these are times that demand the very best of this senate. everywhere in west virginia, and,n fact, all over this
country, families are making tough choices about how to make ends meet. it's time for us in washington to do t same. re in the senate, it seems to me that we're always fighting about something. that might not change any time soon, but more often than not, i believe that we can raise to the common ground of great national purpose and i believe with all of my heart that this is one of those times. thank you, mr. president. and i yiel a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: mr. president, we are here just hours before a looming deadline that is going to affect just about every american in some way, and i do believe that both sides of the aisle and both sides of the
rotunda want to come to a conclusion that will keep us from having what looks like a complete meltdown of governing in washington. someone asked the question in one of our conferences when was the last time that congress was in session and voting between christmas and new year's, and the answer was since 1970, there has not been such a session, and it has actually only happened four times in the history of our country, and two of those times were dealing with world war ii. so i think the enormity of the issue is very clear, and that's why we are here. i think we should have done this six months ago, a year ago. i think all of us agree that we shouldn't be here at this last
hour still trying to negotiate a point at which so many americans are going to be more heavily taxed. i was pleased to see that the distinguished deputy leader on the democratic side talked about the three areas that we have to address, and deficit reduction is most certainly one of them because we are facing a ceiling of a $16 trillion debt that is getting ready to be exceeded, so yes, deficit reduction and entitlement reform are two areas that we must address. this country cannot continue to have social security and medicare spiraling toward not even being solvent. we can't do it.
but it's going to take a bipartisan approach. i mean, it's not rocket science to see that we have a democratic senate, a republican house and a democratic president, and that's going to be the same starting january 3 of next year for at least two more years. so we know what we're dealing with, and i think it affects us right now in the fiscal cliff negotiations because we are not going to do anything unless it is bipartisan. we will not be able to pass anything in the house that doesn't have significant republican votes in the senate, and the democrats in the senate are not going to be able to support something that won't require some votes of democrats in the house. so we are together, maybe it's like a dysfunctional family, but
we do have to work together because without bipartisanship, nothing is going anywhere. therefore, i think you have to go back to negotiations 101. which is that someone in a negotiation has to win some and lose some. the other party in a negotiation has to win some and lose some. the president is not going to get everything he wants. the republicans in the house and senate are not going to get everything we want. nor are the democrats in the house and senate. so we have areas where we can come together, and i've seen it. all of us were talking in the last couple of hours about how we have talked to our counterparts on the other side of the aisle here about what
could bring us together, and there are very clear areas where we can come to an agreement. we are not going to be able to negotiate all parts of what we must do to get our financial house in order. we're not going to be able to do tax reform in a comprehensive way. we are not going to be able to do the fixing of and reforming of our entitlement programs. we are not going to be able to set all of the spending cuts that we are going to have to do going forward right here in the next 36 hours. we can't do it. that has to be done on a basis of determining after many hearings and determinations what our priorities are and what the
ceiling on spending should be. we must set a ceiling. is it 18% or 20% of gross domestic product? is it some amount that goes down each year? that is the question that has to be decided after a lot of discussion next year. but what we can do is avoid a fiscal calamity by not having the sequestration take place on january 1 at midnight but make that a very short term. it can't be two years of a moratorium on sequestration because then we would not get to where we need to be and determining the priorities that will lower the rate of spending in this country.
our problem in this country is a spending problem, and with a $16 trillion debt, more spending is not going to be the answer. so let's look at a very short-term avoidance of sequestration because we don't want to disrupt our military when they have boots on the ground in harm's way. we wouldn't do that. we wouldn't do it on either side of the aisle, so we need to talk about some short-term sequestration avoidance but not a long-term one, because there are things we can cut in the military budget that will not affect the equipment and the pay and the living conditions of our military. we can cut other things, so we have got to be able to come to terms with not having the
sequestration but making it very short term. i think that it is clear that the president has wanted to increase taxes on what he considers the wealthy. i disagree with the president on what is wealthy. i hope that we can come to terms, and when i talk to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and even the president has said that a $400,000 threshold is something that he could accept. many on the other side of the aisle have said $500,000, $600,000 is something that they could work with, and if we do some other things, i believe you could come to a consensus, not something that we like because i don't think we ought to tax anyone. i have certainly voted that way, but there is some area where we can have a short-term fix that will keep us from having to go
over this cliff and hurt so many people in this country. i think it is so important that we look at the big-ticket items in a comprehensive way and know that we're going to have to do that next year, but there are things we can do right now. i don't know one person out of a hundred here that wants the a.m.t. to take effect and cause people who make $35,000 to have to pay more taxes. a.m.t. should not -- i think we should do away with the a.m.t. completely, but certainly it should not kick in at $35,000, and we need to fix it, and i think everybody here agrees we need to fix it. the distinguished deputy leader was talking about the death tax. now, he doesn't think that we
should fix the death tax. i certainly do. if we go to a million dollars exemption and a 55% tax, i think that is going to hurt family-owned businesses, it's going to hurt farms and ranches that lose the major owner, and it's going to hurt the people who work for those family-owned businesses. and why is that? it's because the value on equipment and farms and ranches, which is land, does not have a revenue stream that allows you to pay the tax. so what do you have to do? you have to sell an asset that you can't get the valuation that is put on it. you cannot do it. i have owned a manufacturing company, and i can tell you, you can't sell the equipment for the value that is put on that piece of equipment.
so what happens to a family-owned business? they end up having to sell at pennies on the dollar to pay the tax and people are put out of work. now, is that really what we want? the exemptions that we have now are $5 million and a 35% rate. it would go to $1 million in 36 or 48 hours, $1 million at a 55% rate, and remember the death tax is a tax that has already been paid again and again and again. it's a tax on the value of the equipment or the land that has already been taxed with a property tax or a tax on the equipment. so there is a reason to have some accommodation in the death
tax so that we will not face more unemployed people who work for a family-owned business or farm, and that is a -- it is if not the number-one issue of the farm bureau of this country, it's certainly in the top two or three because they know, they know what it's like to have to sell land that is not productive at a value that is not realistic and pay a tax, and a 55% tax is pretty confiscatory. so, mr. president, i do hope that we can come together on a bipartisan basis because if we don't come together on a bipartisan basis, nothing will get done because we have the house that is looking to the united states senate, that is supposed to be the adult in the room, and they are looking at us
to see how the votes turn out. and we need a large majority on both sides of the aisle to accepted to the house something that has a firm stamp of approval from this body. and we need the president to be a player here as well. i am encouraged that he is now talking to our leaders and hopefully being constructive, and certainly our vice president who has served in this body for so long does understand the importance of the one-on-one talks, and he is talking to, i know, our leader and most certainly the democratic leader as well. so, madam president, the hour is getting late, both figuratively and actually.
we don't have much time to settle an issue that will affect the economy of this country. and last but not least, i am sure the president does not want on his watch to have a calamity like this happen, and i don't want on my watch as one who is leaving the senate this year for this to be the last thing that happens on my watch, and i don't think anyone here is going to benefit from a calamity happening in this country's economy, even for a few days, because it just looks like we can't govern, and it's time to realize that on a bipartisan basis, we can do some things that won't be universally liked and it won't be liked by everyone in this room or anyone in this room 100% because we're not going to get everything that we think is right.
but we can move our country forward. we can help everyone in this country, every taxpayer, but we're not going to raise taxes to spend more. we should be saying okay, if there's going to be a threshold that pays more taxes, they should know it's going to bring down the deficit. that is a very important point that we hope will be determined at the end of this road in 36-48 hours. so thou, mr. president. and i yield the floor and
understand and continue to be befuddled why we cannot bring a proposal to put the country back to work. why we cannot deal with a tax cut for the middle-class, the specially when both sides agree that the country needs to go back to work. and that we need a middle-class tax relief. the president said it well -- both on friday and today. if we cannot -- if they cannot come to agreement in their own conference, if they continue to self-destruct before our eyes in their own conference, then a minimally they have a responsibility, as the president suggested, to bring his proposal to the floor for an up or down vote on behalf of the american people. that is what we continue to focus on, putting the country back to work and the jobs that
everybody knows will assist in bringing down the national debt while employing our people that are out of work and addressing the problems at hand, including a tax break for the middle- class. we can only help that our colleagues come to their senses. again, john boehner is an honorable man. i think he has outside forces in his own conference working against him, but more importantly working against the american people. it is our sincere hope that we are able to resolve this and get it done without taking this nation over the fiscal cliff.
minimally, our caucus is unanimous in our support and responsibility to take a vote in the house of representatives. with that, i turn it to our vice chair. >> we do have votes -- i'll be brief. i will simply state that the house majority called us back for votes. today believe voting -- votes are beginning as we speak. our understanding is that none of the votes we will be casting today have anything to do with the deadlines that we face in slightly more than 24 hours. we are here, we are ready, we believe there is a bill that would help address some of these deadlines that we face and the fiscal consequences of not ask -- acting on these deadlines before us. that is the bipartisan-passed bill that would protect middle- class families, many tax increases. one way or another we should get something done.
the american people have asked us to do that. i know my colleagues have heard what i heard. i've heard from friends and family, from constituents back home. just get it done. we have a little more than 24 hours. let's put bills on the floor that can pass. they may not get all the republican colleagues to vote for them, but they can pass. they are balanced and have a chance to pass. we are here -- we should get work done. let me yield to the incoming vice chair of the democratic caucus. >> thank you. i'll be brief. it feels a lot like groundhog day. this is the fifth time i have said this. i feel like i'm saying the same thing, except in the movie time really did not matter. in real life, we know we have 24 hours or so and we'll be facing dire circumstances, i think, for our nation. if we fail -- if the republican congress fails to act and work in conjunction with our president, they will lead us over the fiscal cliff.
i hope that is not what they want us to do. every indication right now is that the republican congress continues to not work in good faith with the president. there is still time left -- i hope they will come to their senses and do the right thing. >> thank you. it is our intent to caucus every day we are here, and we will be engaging with the press after those caucuses as well. i apologize -- we will have to go up and vote. thank you so much.
>> we spoke to a capitol hill reporter for an update on negotiations for the fiscal cliff. >> we have had a topsy-turvy day. a lot of sound. not a lot of action. we have democrats who started the day and said, the republicans' three and a demand and benefits are paid out. that was a non-starter. the democrats said we will not move until republicans take that off the table here the republicans say, we put that out in an offer. we are waiting to see where they are. both sides huddled this afternoon with their respective
caucuses. they said, we are fine with taking that off the table. the democrats said, we should have but we are trying to balance and we are not there yet. what i hear from folks who are working in need -- in these negotiations is that the entitlement cuts that go into effect january 1 are big sticking points. there is the tax peace with folks trying to avoid taxes going up january 1. there is a spending side. the sticking point for how and if they avoid the spending cuts while they try to work on avoiding the tax increases. >> early after the democratic caucus broke up, there was a report harry reid made a new counteroffer to republicans. what was the story? >> he was asked, do you plan to
make a counter offer? he said, i adjusted. we all imported -- reported he made the counteroffer. shortly thereafter, his spokesperson said he was being rhetorical. i do not know if it was a bit of humor, it was miss understood -- misunderstood. it was unclear. that is how it has been up here today appeared a lot of information flowing back and forth. a lot of rumors. a lot of lawmakers. i heard this and i heard that. not a lot of good solid information. >> one of the stories that came out is that mitch mcconnell had been in contact and had gone to speak with vice president biden. >> i love this one.
the republican leader calls joe biden of the bends. -- bench. this is what we have all been waiting for. the republican leader and the vice president have a good working relationship. we saw that last summer. they swooped in and helped make a deal happen. mcconnell's folks said the vice president has been on the sideline. it was an interesting move by mitch mcconnell to try -- to called joe biden today and jump start the negotiations. i think that will be something to watch in the coming hours. how does he play? there are democrats that are concerned he will cut a bad deal. they are feeling pretty good right now. will the democrats hang
together across pennsylvania avenue from the white house to congress? a big story line we are watching right now. >> we hear they are coming back, and senator reed wants to bring the senate back. is it likely he will have a deal? >> i wish i could tell you that. if i could, i would be a millionaire. i would be making bets on the starch market. -- stock market. the hope is that there could be some kind of deal. democrats feel like they are in a strong position. if they cannot get a deal republicans can sign on to, they will put a scaled-back plan on the floor tomorrow and care republicans to block it. it is unclear what will happen at that point. it might pass the senate and move in the house and create momentum that way. there is a lot to watch and a
lot of moving pieces nobody is quite sure when the music stops and where it all ends. >> what is the income level senators are looking at? >> the president has put $250,000 out there. that is of people assume will happen if there is no deal. in the negotiations over that in trying to get a deal are a big sticking point. i have heard from republicans in may have gone as high as $500,000. democrats have moved and they are negotiating that. they will not say the number. maybe as high as half a million dollars at this point. >> thank you for the update. >> thank you. >> the house and senate wrapped up a rare weekend sensessions.
both return tomorrow. the house comes in at 9:00 a.m. eastern. earlier tonight, the rules committee waive a rule requiring a vote for same day legislation. this would clear the way for a vote on a possible fiscal cliff bill. according to the senate majority leader reid, there is still significant distance between the two sides on the fiscal cliff. they are back on monday with roll call votes. live senate coverage on c-span 2. tomorrow on "washington journal," we are joined by the president of the committee for responsible federal budget. followed by the future of operations. washington journal is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
more than 300 members of the u.k. youth parliament ages 11 to 18 gathered in the british house of commons for their annual debate. their students discussed five topics considered for the national campaign. these included public transportation costs, marriage equality, and others. the speaker of the house presided over the morning and afternoon sessions. such a calm and orderly chamber. [laughter] [inaudible] not together accustomed. it's the the forted meeting the u.k. youth parliament in the house of commons, and i want to underline just how hugely welcome you are by parliamently colleagues and i are thrilled by your presence all previous experience suggests you will speak well with passion a